ZAGREB, Sept 18 (Croatia Sun News) – Former Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric on Wednesday took office as the Council of Europe’s new Secretary-General, succeeding Norwegian Thorbjorn Jagland, who was at the helm of that international organisation for the past ten years.
Pejcinovic Buric, whose five-year term starts today, is the second woman at the helm of the Council of Europe in its 70-year-long history, and the first person from Central and Southeastern Europe to fill this position.
In June, Pejcinovic Buric was elected the new Secretary-General by secret ballot in the CoE Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg. In the first round of the election, she won 159 votes, an absolute majority, while Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders won 105. A total of 264 votes were cast.
Pejcinovic Buric and Reynders were the two nominees shortlisted for the 14th Secretary-General earlier this year.
Apart from them, the other two candidates in the process of selection of the 14th secretary-general were former Lithuanian premier and lawmaker Andrius Kubilius and a former Greek foreign minister and parliamentary deputy, Dora Bakoyannis. The Committee of Ministers interviewed the four candidates separately in March, before deciding to shortlist the two candidates.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe consists of 324 deputies from national parliaments of the 47 member-states.
Croatia joined the Council of Europe in 1996.
The Council of Europe was established in 1949 as an international organisation whose aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.